C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Nari Niketan Rape Case
Nine sentenced to 10-year RI
Convicts plead innocence, raise slogans against judge
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
Calling the Nari Niketan rape case an eye opener for society and slamming the authorities concerned for not being diligent, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Preeti Sahni today sentenced all nine accused, including two women, to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment. Convicting the accused, the court stated that the accused did not deserve any leniency.

In 2009, a 16-year-old mentally challenged inmate of Nari Niketan was found pregnant. At that time she was residing in Ashreya, a home for mentally disturbed persons in Sector 47 and had shifted there only a month ago from Nari Niketan in Sector 26.

The court sentenced Nari Niketan employees -- guards Bhupinder Singh, Jamna Kumar Rana and Bajinder Singh, sweeper-cum-attendant Kamla, nurse-cum-attendant Maya; and Ashreya attendant Chotu Ram (biological father of the victim’s child), Bhagwandeen Yadav, Davinder Singh and driver Naresh Kumar to 10-year rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 2,000 each on them.

The police had said the victim was raped during her stay in Nari Niketan in March 2009 and they had collected DNA samples of all employees of Nari Niketan as well as Ashreya. The police had said there was a nexus between employees of Nari Niketan and Ashreya and that the victim was raped repeatedly.

“The rape of the Nari Niketan inmate is an eye opener for society and shows how affairs are managed in institutes meant for the welfare of destitute persons. If the persons at the helm of affairs were diligent, this untoward incident could have been avoided. They do not deserve leniency,” said the court.

“It is a matter of great shame and regret that the persons, who were entrusted with the duty of looking after such people, became monsters and took advantage of their positions in these institutes and ravished the poor helpless and mentally challenged girl. They had ravished her not only physically, but also took advantage of her mental weakness. Her agony cannot be imagined,” the court added.

Public prosecutor Manish Dua said they had pleaded for maximum sentence for the accused and the statements of the victim proved crucial in the conviction. The victim, whose mental age is not more than eight years, had identified all the accused in court by name, which was vital evidence.

In December 2009, DNA samples of the newborn of the victim had matched those of Chotu Ram. Based on the CFSL report, the police had arrested Chotu Ram, alias Madho Ram.

The UT Administration had moved the High Court for the termination of the vixtim’s pregnancy on medical grounds. The HC had ordered the termination of pregnancy, but it was later stayed by the Supreme Court. The victim gave birth to a baby girl in December 2009.

Turn of events

March 13, 2009: Victim shifted from Nari Niketan, Sector 26, to Ashreya in Sector 47

May 18: Rape case surfaces; mentally challenged victim found two-month pregnant

May 19: Security guard Bhupinder Singh arrested

June 13: Kamla and Jamuna Das arrested

July 17: High Court orders medical termination of pregnancy

July 20: Supreme Court sets aside HC order

December 3: Victim gives birth to baby girl

December 23: Ashreya employee Chhotu Ram identified as baby’s biological father

December 26, 2009: Ashreya employee Bhagwandin Yadav arrested

January 2, 2010: Two men arrested for allegedly raping victim in Ashreya



Nari Niketan rape case: Profile of convicts

From Nari Niketan

Bhupinder Singh (55)
Family members of the convicts outside the District Courts in Chandigarh on Monday.
Family members of the convicts outside the District Courts in Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

The first person to be arrested, Bhupinder, worked as a security guard in Nari Niketan. He allegedly lured the victim on the pretext of marrying her. The police said the teenaged girl, whose mental age was seven or eight, was lured so much into the dream that she fell into the trap. A police official said when initially asked about it, she said, “Bhupinder paji is going to marry me.”

Even after the victim was shifted to Ashreya on March 13, 2009, Bhupinder raped her. He went to the Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children (GIMRC) in Sector 32, where the victim went to study, and raped her in the toilet. A resident of Maloya, Bhupinder hails from Jandiala in Amritsar.

Kamla (40)

The sweeper-cum-attendant at Nari Niketan did odd jobs in addition to her duties. She made her believe that she would be married to Bhupinder. Kamla, who is a resident of Sector 30, hails from Dharamgarh in Panipat. She was the second accused arrested.

Maya (38)

The nurse-cum-attendant assisted the men. Maya, who hails from Shanti Nagar in Mani Majra, maintained health records of the inmates. She was booked under Section 201 of the IPC as she had destroyed the pages pertaining to monthly menstrual cycle of the victim.

Bajinder Singh (38)

Bijender and Bhupinder took the victim to a bathroom in the Shelter Home and took turns to rape her. Bajinder was a chowkidar at Shelter Home. Bajinder hails from Tihri Garhwal, Uttarakhand.

Jamna Kumar Rana (54)

The security guard manned the main gate of Nari Niketan. He took the victim to the toilet inside the security guard’s room near the main gate. Rana hails from Nepal.

From Ashreya

Chhotu Ram

The security guard allegedly made the first successful attempt to rape the girl on March 15, two days after she was shifted from Nari Niketan. Chhotu, who hails from Kangra in Himachal Pradesh, was arrested on December 23, 2010, when his DNA matched with that of the newborn baby.

Bhagwandeen Yadav (31)

The attendant to the only male inmate of Ashreya raped the victim in the toilet. He had access to the victim because he was always present in the building. He was arrested on December 26. He hails from Faizabad in UP and lives in Industrial Area.

Naresh Kumar (30)

A driver employed at Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children, Naresh stayed in Halfway Home, located on the campus of Ashreya, where he did odd jobs like fixing the curtains. He frequently visited the inmates’ rooms, which gave him access to the victim. A resident of Mohali, he was arrested on January 12 this year.

Devinder Singh (24)

The attendant in the male wing of Ashreya was arrested with Naresh on January 2, 2010. The four accused of Ashreya were hand-in-glove with each other and took turns to rape the victim. A resident of Mauli Jagran, Devinder was employed in Ashadeep in Sector 31 when he was arrested.



Centre gives more financial powers to UT Administration
Raises it from Rs 10 cr to Rs 50 cr
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The UT Administration has finally got more financial powers as the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has enhanced the financial powers of the UT Administrator to Rs 50 crore from the existing Rs 10 crore. With this development, the Administration will not be at the mercy of the MHA for spending money on development projects.

The Adviser to the Administrator, KK Sharma, said earlier the financial powers were less, which resulted in the delay of major projects, but now the Administration would be able to spend more money.

Sources revealed that to increase the financial powers for the UT Administration, a number of meetings were held between senior officials of the Administration and the MHA. In these meetings, the demand for enhancing the financial powers of the Administrator was discussed. It was also discussed during a meeting with the Parliamentary Committee in Chandigarh last year.

Sources further added that the Administration had submitted its demand on the pattern of other union territories, including Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Daman and Diu, which have financial powers up to Rs 25 crore.

A senior official of the Administration said it was good for the Administration to get the financial powers of Rs 50 crore as the city had been emerging in a big way. Many a time, officials had to split the project cost into two or three, which attracted audit objections, he said.

Usually, officials were required to rush to New Delhi for the sanction of projects worth over Rs 10 crore. With the MHA and other central ministries calling the shots in according financial and technical approval to major projects, the Administration was at the mercy of the Central government for spending even its own resources.

Former UT Administrator Gen (retd) SF Rodrigues tried to obtain more financial powers for the Administrator on the plea of accelerating ongoing and held-up projects, but with controversies over mega projects, including medicity, amusement park and film city, marking his five-year tenure, the Central government found it prudent to not increase the Administrator’s financial powers.

Tough going

Officials of the UT Administration were usually required to rush to New Delhi for the sanction of development projects worth over Rs 10 crore. With the MHA and other Central ministries calling the shots in according financial and technical approval to major projects, the Administration was at the mercy of the Central government for even spending its own resources.



Son acquitted of murder as kin turn hostile
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
After three key witnesses turned hostile, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge SS Sahni today acquitted a 32-year-old man in a case pertaining to the murder of his father. The court acquitted Ajay who was accused of strangling his father Chinta Ram after a dispute over the sale of their house at Pulsora last year.

Last week, two brothers of the accused had turned hostile in court while the victim’s wife, Gomti Devi, had also turned hostile last month. The police, which had no circumstantial evidence to prove the murder charges, was left embarrassed as the case fell flat. Ajay’s brothers had retracted from their statements given to the police last week.

On October 13, 2010, Ajay reportedly strangled his 65-year-old father after a dispute over the sale of their house turned ugly. As per the prosecution, the accused had fled after threatening his mother and family members against informing the police. He was later arrested.

The victim had got into an argument with his son after Ajay asked him to sell the house they were residing in saying that he needed money. When Chinta Ram refused, Ajay took the extreme measure and strangled him.

He then threatened his mother of dire consequences if she informed the police. Gomti Devi had told the police that she saw her son strangling her husband, but turned hostile during the last hearing.



Woman stabbed, robbed at house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
In a daring daylight robbery, two unidentified assailants wearing masks stabbed a 38-year-old woman at her residence in Ram Darbar, Sector 31, and fled with gold ornaments worth Rs 1.5 lakh here today.

The victim, Balwinder Kaur, has been admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, and her condition is stated to be critical.

The victim was alone in the house at the time of the incident. The incident occurred at around 2.30 pm when Balwinder Kaur was in her house and two masked youths came on a motorcycle.

One of the assailants attacked her with a knife and stabbed her in the stomach while the other kicked her and gave her blows. They then took away her ornaments worth Rs 1.5 lakh and fled, leaving behind the knife.

The incident has created panic in the area. Residents said this was the third such incident in a short period of time.

The police said it had rounded some suspects in the area for questioning and had registered a case.



37 CCTV cameras installed at PGI
To monitor thefts, anti-social elements
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The PGI authorities today installed 37 close-circuit cameras covering the outer gates at all the entry and exit points of the buildings situated on the complex in order to check anti-social elements.

Inspector General of Police PK Srivastava inaugurated the CCTV camera facility. The cameras can span 360 degrees and have zoom facility, besides day and night vision. The project cost about Rs 40 lakh. The cameras will help the institute in checking incidents of theft, pilferage and intrusion of anti-social elements.

They will also assist in increasing the effectiveness as well as punctuality of the employees. The cameras have a recording facility of one month.

The PGI has a dedicated CCTV control room where the functioning of the cameras will be monitored round-the-clock by trained security staff.

There had been frequent complaints of thefts and fraud on the premises of the institute. Several taps and other fittings have been stolen from the washrooms and a “fake” security guard had stolen an ATM card of an attendant a few months ago.

Two years ago, two youths had taken away a bag containing Rs 50,000 from a patient while he was sleeping in the open. Even surgical equipment are suspected to have been pilfered from the PGI after their use for sale at chemist shops.

A surgical item was allegedly sold by a chemist last year and doctors at the Advance Cardiac Care Centre had lodged a complaint in this regard.


No end to burning of dry leaves in city
MC has no foolproof mechanism in place; residents and sweepers play blame game; piles of dry leaves all around
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
As the municipal corporation (MC) has failed to devise any foolproof mechanism for the collection of dry leaves in the city, residents and sweepers have been dumping those in every nook and corner at streets and markets to burn those.

There is no effective machinery to enforce the environment Act, under which burning dry leaves is an offence.

Passing the buck, residents allege that sweepers are responsible for burning leaves on the roadside as the MC does not have a system for day-to-day collection at every sector.

On the other hand, sweepers allege that the residents burn heaps of dry leaves at night as there is neither a check, nor a regular system to remove those. Piles of dry leaves have been lying on the roadside and at greenbelts in various sectors.

Ash and smoke can be seen at a number of places in Sectors 15, 16, 35, 36, 38 (West), 45 and 46. Commuters using bicycle tracks face a problem as dry leaves stick to the tyres of their bicycles, hampering movement.

Expressing helplessness, a senior MC official said it was hard to catch persons burning leaves. The department had deputed staff and machinery to collect dry leaves from every sector, he claimed.

During a recent House meeting, BJP councillor Arun Sood had alleged that whenever they contacted the sanitation wing in this regard, it replied that trolleys had been sent to some other sector and they would have to wait.

He had revealed in the House that the staff told him that all trolleys had been sent to VVIP areas for the collection of dry leaves and the staff would be sent to his ward only after the collection was completed there.

Nominated councillor DS Sandhu had said heaps of dry leaves were lying at every greenbelt and park in his ward for the last fortnight and there was no system to collect those everyday. He had complained that a number of suggestions were made to the MC, but none was acted upon.

In 2002, then UT Adviser Neeru Nanda had initiated ‘sahaj safai’ and ‘khaad banaao’ ‘kendras’ at Sectors 15, 21, 26, 27, 33 and 36. Under this project, the authorities had installed infrastructure to decompose dry leaves into fertiliser and use it for greenbelts.

Sources in the Administration admitted that the infrastructure was not in working condition at present as the authorities had failed to manage it.



Allotment prices of CHB flats at Sector 63 being revised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The allotment prices of different categories of flats being constructed by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) under the self-financing housing scheme at Sector 63 here are being revised following changes in the area allotted for the construction of economically weaker section (EWS), one-room, two-room and three-room flats.

In 2004, around 60,000 square yards were allotted to the CHB for the construction of 2,108 flats. But after the revision of layout plans and the relocation of greenbelts adjoining the UT boundary with Mohali, the land left with the CHB was 48,000 square yards, which meant a reduction of 12,153 square yards.

The issue had cropped up after GMADA officials objected to six-storey houses being raised by the CHB close to houses at Phase IX of Mohali. It was mutally agreed that the flats would be relocated after maintaining distance from the houses in Mohali.

The land with the CHB was earlier short by two acres, when it found that over 200 houses at Phase IX had been allotted by the GMADA. To construct the specified number of flats, greenbelts were relocated.

A senior CHB official said the area for EWS flats was reduced from 8,164.692 square yards to 4,591.339 square yards and area for one-room flats was increased from 12,271.24 square yards to 13,361.24 square yards.

The official added that the area for two-room flats was increased from 21,975 square yards to 32,975 square yards and the area for three-room flats was decreased from 17,009 square yards to 16,385 square yards.

Though the final cost of flats would be calculated on completion, the variation would reflect in the final allotment price. Against the total initial cost of Rs 33.64 crore, the cost was now being projected at Rs 38.48 crore.



Giving info on servants a must
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
To put a check on landlords, tenants and owners and users of commercial establishments, UT District Magistrate Brijendra Singh has directed them to furnish information about servants, helpers and maids employed by them.

Any breach of this order will invite action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. This order will stay in force from April 10 to June 8. This order has been issued so that anti-social elements in the guise of domestic helps do not pose a threat to employers and others.

He has ordered that no one will employ a servant, a helper or a part-time maid unless their particulars are furnished to the station house officer concerned in writing in the format that is specified.

The District Magistrate has also prohibited the sale of correction fluids to minors from April 10 to June 8. The order has been issued as some minors, specially school students, have been committing crime after the use of correction fluids.



MC does little to tackle water scarcity problem
Allocates Rs 50 lakh for sinking new tubewells
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, April 9
With the town heading for water scarcity during the summer months, the fund-starved Municipal Council (MC) has allocated a mere Rs 50 lakh for sinking new tubewells against the need of about Rs 3 crore to tackle the impending crisis.

With the mercury rising each day, the pressure of water is getting adversely affected due to increase in demand. The Water Supply and Sanitation Wing has decided to impose a ban on watering lawns and washing vehicles and courtyards during morning supply hours from April 15.

In order to reduce the gap between the demand and supply of water, the authorities concerned have asked the civic body to sink 12 new tubewells in different parts of the town. The demand of water in the summer months is 23 mgd (million gallons a day) against the availability of only 13.3 mgd. Mohali is getting only 10 mgd of canal water from Kajauli Waterworks and the rest of it is got from tubewells.

At present, 41 tubewells are functioning in the area located under the municipal limits. The project of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to get additional 20 mgd of water from Kajauli Waterworks has still not made much headway.

In a letter written to the Executive Officer of the council, the Executive Engineer of the Water Supply and Sanitation Wing had stated that it was important to sink 12 tubewells keeping in view the growing population of the town. The demand of additional tubewells was made last year after which the authorities concerned had sent reminders to the civic body officials to do the needful.

It is learnt that additional tubewells have been demanded near HM Quarters in Phases I and II, in Phases III A, III B 1, III B 2, IV, V, near office complex of waterworks in Phase VI, near 4 marla houses in Phase VII, near Commando Complex in Phase XI, at the rear of PCA Stadium in Phase IX and in Shahimajra village.

Executive Engineer of the council N.S. Dalam said funds for 12 tubewells would have to be arranged by the government and efforts would be made to sink these tubewells during summer.

He said the Minister for Local Government had held a meeting last week with officials of all civic bodies of the state to know about various requirements. A request for a special grant for 12 tubewells had been put up at the meeting.



conversion policy
Plot owners want their money back
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The ghost of the conversion policy has returned to haunt the Administration as the converted plot owners’ association has demanded back their money, which is around Rs 1,000 crore.

They allege that the Administration is in the process of framing an industrial policy, wherein some commercial activities, like information technology (IT) and warehousing, for which the Administration has charged crores, will be allowed free of conversion charge.

In a letter to the UT Administration, it has been stated that the Administration has allowed change of land use from industrial to commercial activity on the payment of a large conversion fee. Over 125 plot owners at the Industrial Area have opted for this scheme.

The Administration has collected over Rs 1,000 crore as conversion charges. Further amounts on this account continue to accrue year after year. The association has pointed out that IT, IT-enabled services and warehousing are allowed under this scheme and upon the payment of conversion fee.

The Administration is now trying to allow these commercial activities in the Industrial Area free of cost. Association chairman Chander Verma has said they are not against the new policy, but only want equal treatment for all industrialists.

He has added that it will be not fair to charge crores from some persons and allow conversion to others free of cost. He has demanded that a stay be granted on balance instalments till the finalisation of the new industrial policy.



MC meets on stray animal menace

Chandigarh, April 9
A meeting of the municipal corporation (MC) to chalk out plans on the stray animal menace in the city was held here today.

Representatives of NGOs suggested more sterilisation camps for stray dogs. Hiring the services of baboon-owners was suggested to tackle the monkey menace.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of MC Commissioner VP Singh. It was attended by Mayor Raj Bala Malik and MOH BK Salwan. — TNS



Shortage of water, electricity plagues tricity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
With the onset of summer, unscheduled power cuts and low pressure water supply are back to haunt the tricity residents. For the past three days, the residents have been witnessing poor supply of electricity in various sectors of the city.

The department has started imposing rotational power cuts in Sectors 15, 19, 20, 22, 24, 35, 39 and 45. Sanjay Kumar of Sector 15 said for the past few days, power cuts were being imposed in their sector. Rekha of Sector 20 said there was no power on Saturday. In the afternoon, a two-hour power cut was imposed while in the evening, it was for half an hour. She added that in the absence of power, it became difficult to handle children. A senior official added that the UT electricity department had already made arrangements to provide adequate power to residents. Tenders for the purchase of 120 megawatts of power had been finalised. Of the 90 megawatts, 60 would be bought from three companies, Tata Power, NVN and PTC India while 30 megawatts would come from Jammu and Kashmir, he added. “In winter, Chandigarh gives power to Jammu and Kashmir and in summer the UT gets power from Jammu and Kashmir,” the official said. There are 2.28 lakh power consumers in Chandigarh. In summer, consumption of power goes up sharply. The administration has allocation of 200 megawatts of power from May 1 to October 15 while the consumption goes up to 320 megawatts. If rain comes on time, excess power won’t be needed anyway.

Regarding the low water pressure, city residents staying on the first floors and above all over the city have begun facing difficulties. Those residing in colonies and villages are in contrast a blessed lot as they seem to be availing uninterrupted water supply without spending a penny and without the fear of being challaned for the misuse of water. The municipal corporation has constituted 14 special teams comprising officials to check water wastage in the city. Notices will be issued to defaulters from April 15.

While visiting a number of colonies in the city, randomly, it was found that in a majority of places, tap nozzles were missing and water kept on flowing day and night. Whereas in a majority of sectors , residents have been complaining about low pressure, especially during evening hours.

Mohali and Panchkula: While water crisis is looming large over Mohali, unscheduled power cuts have already started in Panchkula


Residents of Sectors 66 and 67 have been complaining about water scarcity.

“Here we are facing almost ‘no-water’ situation for the past 10 days,” lamented Harinder Kaur, a resident of Sector 67. “The water that we get in the morning or late at night is not worth drinking. You just see its colour, it’s almost black,” said Harinder Kaur while showing the ‘muddy water’ being supplied to the residents. While Navjot Kiran of Sector 68 added that the low pressure was another problem haunting them. “The summer has just set in and water has already stopped reaching the upper floors. Those, who live on upper floors, face a lot of problems, particularly during morning hours, as many a time we don’t get even a single drop of water,” said Navjot Kiran.

On the issue, Ashok Virdi, executive engineer of the public health wing, Greater Mohali Area Development Authority, claimed that they were cleaning the water tanks of the area, which led to the water supply problem in the area.

While on low-pressure issue, Virdi maintained that the diameter of the water tank of the area was larger than that of other tanks in the town. “Being larger in size, it needs more water to get high pressure. We are aware of the problem and it is being solved,” he added.

Notably, during peak summer, the town witness shortage of about 10 million gallons of water daily. The daily requirement of water in Mohali is reportedly over 20 MGD while the actual availability is said to be nearly 15 MGD.


More than a dozen sectors in different parts of the town are witnessing unscheduled power cuts, particularly during the past more than one week. Residents face power cuts in Sectors 6,7 8, 11, 12, 15, 16 and 20 at irregular intervals during evening hours daily for the past one week. However, the officials said there was no power shortage and the supply was affected due to overloading, which was a matter of concern. “The residents have been advised to get their power supply loads increased without paying any further charge,” added the officials.



Medical tourism picks up in region
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
The medical tourism in the region is picking up steadily. With high-quality world-class healthcare at economical and affordable prices despite the use of international standard implants and consumables, India, particularly the tricity, is a leading player in medical tourism.

“The medical tourism sector in the country is expected to grow at an annual rate of 30 per cent to become a Rs 9,500-crore industry by 2015,” states an Assocham report. An estimated 150,000 of these travel to India for low-priced healthcare procedures every year.

“With a large number of NRIs from Punjab, the region has also witnessed a substantial growth in the health sector. The most popular treatments sought in India by medical tourists are alternative medicine, bone-marrow transplant, cardiac bypass, eye surgery and hip replacement,” said Dr Atul Sharma Joshi, consultant, general surgery, Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

Even as the treatment cost was much lower in the country, there was no compromise on the quality front, he added.

Indian doctors have made their name abroad which is why people there prefer to come to India for treatment.

While the open heart surgery costs nearly 19,000 dollars in the USA or UK, the procedure costs them little over 45,00 dollars.

This saves sufficient amount for a patient even after meeting the transportation and staying charges here.

Similarly, simple brain tumour surgery costs one nearly 45,000 dollars in India for which a patient has to shell out over 10,000 dollars in developed countries, a study of packages at Internet reveals.

“With abundance of medical facilities here, no waiting period there is almost no waiting time for most of the treatments in private sector,” he added.

This has attracted the NRIs as well as foreigners from different parts of world, including the UK, USA, Denmark and Kenya.

The cost of getting a skin and laser treatment abroad has gone extremely high because the doctors have started adding the cost of litigation and other legal expenses into the consultation and treatment procedures

The higher expertise of Indian doctors and getting the procedure done at reasonable cost were the main reasons behind it, he said.

The trend was already high among the NRIs but now an increasing number of foreign nationals are preferring to come here for skin and laser procedures, said Dr Sharma.



Encroachments on Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 9
Traders have started encroaching upon the Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass after it was thrown open to the general public on the intervening night of April 5 and 6.

A random survey by this correspondent in the town showed that about 5 to 10 per cent shop owners have encroached upon about 3 to 4 feet space on the road by placing goods due to which frequent traffic jams have become a routine occurrence during the rush hours..

Most of the trucks heading towards the industrial town of Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh pass through the narrow road of the main bazaar leading to traffic jams.

Most of the residents prefer travelling by their own vehicles during morning and evening hours resulting in traffic snarls.

Suresh Kumar, a resident of Kalka, said the district administration should take immediate steps to check the violations otherwise smooth flow of traffic on the bypass would be affected badly. He said the administration should serve notices on the traders who indulged in such activities.

Meanwhile, traffic at the newly opened toll plaza, which had witnessed traffic chaos on the very first day, was smooth. The authorities at the plaza have engaged more staff to direct the approaching vehicles to their respective counters to avoid any rush at the counters.

Kishan Cheerwoo, a senior LIC official, posted at Parwanoo, said it took him only one or two minutes to pay the toll tax at the plaza whereas it took him about 20 minutes for the same on the opening day. He said the traffic movement through the markets in Kalka was also smooth but if the traders started encroaching upon about 3 to 4 feet space on the road, the problem of traffic jams would start again as hundreds of heavy vehicles, including buses and trucks passed through the town everyday.



PM’s visit: Special protection group to review security arrangements
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 9
Special protection group (SPG), in charge of the Prime Minister’s security, will be arriving in the city tomorrow to review the security arrangements at the Parade Ground in Sector 5 here.

As per sources, the SPG will hold a meeting with the senior officials of the districts administration and police department to decide the routes to the venue and the possible roads to be closed for the general public during the silver jubilee of setting up of Zonal Cultural Centres in the country to be held on April 13.

The sources added that besides Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Governors of Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh West Bengal, Nagaland, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu and other states, who are also chairpersons of the ZCC in their respective states, Union ministers and other dignitaries are expected to attend the inaugural function.

Meanwhile, the police department has made elaborate security arrangements for the function as more than 2,000 police personnel, including four Superintendents of Police, 15 Deputy Superintendents of Police and Inspectors will be deployed in the town. As the district is already short of the staff, more force is being sought from other districts of the town.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Maneesh Chaudhary said a meeting with the SPG is slated for tomorrow to discuss the security at the venue, besides deciding the routes of the Prime Minister’s visit.

Meanwhile, the Parade Ground and its surroundings are being spruced up ahead of the the PM’s visit. Artisans from different states in the country are busy giving final touches to their creations at the venue. The wall of the huts, where the artisans will be seen busy making their traditional items, are being given finishing touches.

The district administration has also initiated the steps for repairing damaged roads, painting of the grill on the road median, besides giving finishing touches to the recently constructed outer walls of the Parade Ground. 



Colombian artistes strike a chord
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, April 9
The city was treated to a melodic feast of folk and contemporary music and dances of Colombia by nine artistes of the Mama Julia band at the Randhawa auditorium here today. The musical nite was organised by the Chandigarh chapter of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in collaboration with the Punjab Arts Council.

It was a part of the Latin American Festival of Music and Dance in India. The artistes brought alive the diverse folk musical traditions of South America.

They presented Afro-Colombian music in fusion with contemporary musical strains in 12 presentations. The only woman singer-dancer, Yahaira Mina, partnered others for dances.

She also doled out solo numbers. Her footwork and dance movements, especially in Salsa, captivated the audience.

The other attractions were the song and dance numbers ‘Gaita de moisa’, ‘Comore arana’, ‘Agua que vaacaer’ and ‘Kali pachanguero’, besides jazz instrumental numbers.

The director of the programme, Joaquin Salsedo, embellished the presentations with soothing chiaroscuro light effects.

The rhythm section comprised traditional percussions from the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, accompanied by the jungle sounds of the Chonta Marimba.

The highlight of the programme was all members performing on various instruments, besides singing and dancing. They established an instant rapport with the audience.



chandigarh scan
Timings changed

As the summer season is approaching, the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector-16, and its allied dispensaries, including Ayush Dispensaries, Community Health Centre, Manimajra, Community Health Centre, Sector- 22, and Polyclinic, Sector-45, will follow the new OPD timings from April 16 to October 15, an official press release said here on Monday. The new timings will be 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. However, the timings of ESI Dispensaries-29 and ESI-23, UT Secretariat, Punjab & Haryana Secretariat, and High Court Dispensaries will remain as before.

Cleanliness drive

Harphool Chand Kalyan, Area Councillor, Municipal Corporation Chandigarh, flagged off a cleanliness drive-cum- awareness campaign today in the presence of the officials of the sanitation wing.

Safaikaramcharis of the sanitation wing of Municipal Corporation Chandigarh held an impressive rally to create awareness among the residents by carrying placards depicting the message for the residents to cooperate in maintaining the sanitation of the colony. It was also stressed that streets and open spaces should not be littered in order to maintain the sanitation of the area.

Memorandum submitted

The local unit of BJP submitted a memorandum to KK Sharma, Advisor to the UT Administrator, regarding the problems faced by traders and industrialists of the city, a press release said here on Monday.

It was stated that the new Act on food safety, introduced this year, made food safety licenses mandatory. Many traders got their licenses renewed, but quite a few are still left who could not get license renewed in time. It was demanded that these businessmen be allowed more time to get their licenses renewed.

The Punjab VAT Act is applicable to Chandigarh as well. It is surprising that whenever implementation and enactment of a tax is concerned, the Chandigarh Administration acts without any delay; but whenever Punjab relaxes a tax provision, it takes the UT Administration months to follow.

World Health Day

The AKSIPS Smart School, Sector 41B, celebrated World Health Day here on Monday. A competition was organised for the students to encourage them to bring healthy meals in their tiffins. Teachers urged students to eat nutritious food items like sprouts, green leafy vegetables, salad, and seasonal fruits.

Guidelines for landlords

District Magistrate Brijendra Singh has directed the landlords/owners and managers of paying guest accommodations to inform their respective Station House Officer regarding the antecedents of paying guests staying in their accommodations. This has been done to minimise the risk of anti-social elements staying in the city posing as paying guest. The order issued under Section 144, Criminal Procedure Code, made it clear that the offenders will be liable to be prosecuted under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. The order will come into force with effect from zero hours on April 10, 2012, and would be effective till June 6, 2012. The District Magistrate has also prohibited the sale of correction fluid (white fluid generally used by typists for making corrections) to minor children in the Union Territory, Chandigarh, for a period of 60 days, from April 10 to June 8, an official press release said here on Monday. The orders, issued under section 144 of the Cr. PC, are being issued to prevent minors, specially school children, from committing crimes using correction fluids.

Office-bearers elected

Sandeep Sahni has been elected as president of the Chamber of Chandigarh Industries. Rakesh Agarwal was elected as general secretary, Subhash Dang as vice-president, Harvinder Singh Khanna as secretary and Rajwant Singh as joint secretary.


The District Magistrate, Union Territory, Chandigarh, has issued an order under Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 (Central Act No III of 1897), banning sale of all kinds of exposed eatables such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, breads, parched grain of all kinds, dates and cut fruits.

All kinds of cold drinks, including lassi, sugarcane-juice, sharbats, jaljeera, curd, and cut fruits kept for sale shall be properly covered with the help of wire gauze or glass for protection from dust and flies. The sale of unchlorinated drinking water through water trolleys obtained from unauthorised sources has also been banned. The sale of ice, ice candies, aerated water through outlets under unhygienic conditions is also banned. The order will remain in force till December 31, 2012.

mohali scan
Foundation Day

The students and staff of Yadavindra Public School, Mohali, celebrated its 33rd foundation day today. It was on this day in 1979 that Ram Pratap Singh laid the foundation stone of the institution with a vision which is embedded in its motto “Vidya Vinay Veerta”. The function started with an address by principal Janajit Ray during which he took the audience back in time and spoke of the distance the institution had traversed. He also recited a prayer to celebrate the familial bonds within the institution. The school choir sang two songs suited to the occasion and the National Anthem. Activities like community work through cleaning of classrooms and plantation of saplings as well as an art competition were held with great enthusiasm.

— Tribune Reporters



PU recruitment row deepens
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chnadigarh, April 9
In what may further add to the controversy surrounding the recruitments at Panjab University in the backdrop of the ongoing selection process for a new VC and the forthcoming Senate elections, the high-powered committee headed by GK Chatrath has given the nod to hire non-teaching employees but decided to review the decision of filling over 300 posts of teacher.

The committee held that while the results for the non-teaching posts for which exams and interviews had been conducted should be declared, the urgency regarding recruitments to around 300 posts of teachers, other than those in the dental college, should be reviewed.

This decision is in direct contrast to the previous one wherein the authorities, ignoring all propriety, advertised for 300 posts of teachers, claiming them to be urgent. The committee, which was constituted to sieve out the urgent recruitments, said that the issue of ‘urgency’ was to be decided by deans and chairpersons of the concerned department.

“As far as non-teaching posts are concerned, the very fact that staff crunch ails the university and the administrative machinery is on the verge of crumbling makes recruitment to these posts urgent. Also, there is no propriety issue in declaring results of posts where tests and interviews have been conducted. In the case of the dental college, the DCI has given time till May for filling up the posts, or the course will lose affiliation. So we have agreed on this hiring. The remaining posts and the urgency attached with them will be reviewed by the deans and concerned heads of department who will give a detailed report by April 20,” said Chatrath.

While the non-teaching employees have lauded the decision, many have accused the committee members of having intentionally stalled the recruitments to the posts of teachers. “ It is all Senate politics. One particular group is against hiring faculties. How can the decision be different for teaching and non-teaching posts? Departments are also ailing with faculty crunch. Many of these positions have been granted by the UGC only this year, so there is no question of need-based recruitment,” said a Senator.

The controversy had sparked off a few months back when VC RC Sobti came under the scanner for advertising 300 posts of teachers despite the fact that a search panel had been constituted for finding a new VC. Sobti claimed that it was the Syndicate which asked him to carry on with the recruitments. But eventually, the process came to a stand still and even the declaration of results of recruitment tests conducted for non-teaching positions were withheld. As non-teaching employees threatened to strike, a committee was constituted to decide on the positions requiring urgent recruitment.



Caught cheating, law student escapes by jumping off first floor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
High drama prevailed at the PU law department today when a 5 year law course student, Harman Deep Singh Brar, ‘escaped’ by jumping from the first floor of the department after he was caught cheating.

The invigilator who was framing a case against Brar for using unfair means had caught him with answers written on his leg.

Brar excused himself on the pretext of going to the toilet but didn’t return for a long time. The officials went looking for him in the toilet but failed to find him.

This left them panicked and they alerted the security staff which locked the main gate of the department and carried out a search for him.

Brar, who was reportedly hiding in the library, ran to the first floor from where he jumped and ran away.

The drama however failed to do him any good as eventually not only a UMC was filed against him, but a complaint was also lodged in the Sector 11 police station.

However, what may be come as a respite to Harman is the fact that owing to PU’s weak complaint only a DDR was filed and no cognisable offence has been registered in his name.

“We have officially recorded the incident but can’t do much because Harman has not escaped with any material or manhandled anybody,” said a police official.



City colleges offer psychological, career guidance
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 9
In what is bound to delight thousands of city students who are done with their class X and XII boards, colleges including SD College, Sector 32, and DAV College, Sector 10, are all set to offer free psychological and career guidance.

In a city where school counselling is still an alien concept and private counsellors charge anything between Rs 2000-5000, the psychology departments of the colleges are doing wonders. “We have set up a special counselling centre where we provide career counselling to students twice a week. While guiding a student, it is necessary to ensure that we don’t put forth fancy options of a course but help him/her decide the best feasible option. We will also conduct an aptitude test for class XII pass outs in June to help them choose the streams best for them,” says Tarundeep Kaur, HOD, psychology department, SD College.

“We had initially confined ourselves to our college students, but we do get many outsiders through our students. Career counselling is not just about making academic or vocational decisions, but it is also a big emotional and psychological choice after class X and XII. Counselling is the most important, and, unfortunately, the most ignored part of our educational set up. Counselling helps youngsters to be more oriented and the faculty strives to help as many as we can in the fixed parameters of efficiency and time,” said Dr Aradhana Sharma, HOD, Psychology DAV.

“It is not just students, but even parents who need to be counselled for bridging the gap between their expectations and the choice and ability of the student. During our counselling we ensure that even parents are on the same pedestal as students so that they can provide the much needed support and guidance. We do get a lot of applicants,” added Tarundeep.



Students to get a say in deciding syllabi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , April 9
In a path breaking initiative, students and potential employers will now play a key role in deciding the nitty gritty of curriculum, primarily of social science subjects. The revolutionary decision was taken in recent meeting of the arts faculty where it was decided to take students’ interest, comfort levels and the expectations of employers into consideration to make PU courses more relevant and employable.

Conventionally, the concerned board of studies revises the syllabi every three years. But for the first time students will get a say in it. Specially conducted workshops will be organised by over 20 departments to this end.

“The board of studies of our departments include many academic luminaries, but we have decided to widen our input base to make our courses more relevant to the job and research market. We have decided to hold special workshops involving college teachers, students and potential employers who will debate and give suggestion which will then be placed before the concerned authorities,” said a senior faculty member.

The workshops will be funded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and Dean College Development Council (DCDC) and other funding agencies.

“Panjab University has always initiated educational reforms and this is another such step. We are trying to bridge the gap between academics and the needs of the employers and will hopefully do so. The workshop will be the first of its kind undertaken by any university. We believe that students are one of our key stake holders,” said Vice Chancellor RC Sobti.

Pushpinder Sharma, president, Student Council, lauded the move saying that finally students will be elevated from being mere pupils to an important pillar in PU academics.



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